Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Chapter 14: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback
Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese characters are shown in parentheses.
Nuówēi jǐbèi lóng -- Nuòbó
脊背 jǐbèi = 'ridge-back'.
龙 lóng = 'dragon'.
诺伯 Nuòbó = 'Norbert'.
|Norbert the Norwegian ridgebacked dragon|
Nuówēi jǐbèi lóng Luóbo
脊背 jǐbèi = 'ridge-back'.
龍 lóng = 'dragon'.
蘿蔔 Luóbo = 'radish'.
|Radish (Norbert) the Norwegian ridgebacked dragon|
Noruwei doragon no Nōbāto
Noruwei = 'Norway'.
ドラゴン doragon = 'dragon' (English).
の no = connecting particle
ノーバート Nōbāto = 'Norbert'.
|Norbert the Norwegian dragon|
|Vietnamese||Trứng rồng đen||trứng
rồng = 'dragon'.
|The black dragon's egg|
Dragons: The Oriental dragon is a magnificent mythical creature of good omen associated with the water. It is nothing like the evil, fire-breathing dragon of the West. Unfortunately, the word 'dragon' is now conventionally used to describe both the Oriental and Occidental dragons. The Vietnamese translator reportedly baulked at using the word rồng, but eventually compromised by including a note to say that the Western dragon was different from the Vietnamese one (this note can be found at the back of issue no. 6 of the Vietnamese version).
Only the Japanese translator has come up with a solution. Instead of using the Japanese word for 'dragon', which is 竜 ryū, she uses the word ドラゴン doragon, from the English word 'dragon'. Although ドラゴン doragon can also be used for Oriental dragons (Bruce Lee's 'Enter the Dragon' is known in Japanese as 燃えろドラゴン！ Moero doragon! 'Burn Dragon!'), this device nevertheless helps to set Harry Potter's dragons apart from the traditional Oriental kind. This solution is less appropriate for Chinese because the Chinese are not as comfortable borrowing words from English. (For more information on Oriental dragons, including links to many related sites, try The Chinese Dragon and other mythical dragons of the East, Illiana the Golden Dragon, Tysharina's Lair, Types of Dragons, Dragons in Ancient China, Dragons of China, and The Vietnamese Dragon. )
Norbert: The Taiwanese version gives Norbert the rather humorous name of 蘿蔔 Luóbo, meaning 'Radish'. Luóbo is more likely to be accepted by South Chinese and Taiwanese speakers as people from many of these areas have a habit of mixing up their n's and l's.
The Mainland version renders Norbert's name as 诺伯 Nuòbó, using the correct pronunciation of 'n'. It's clear, however, that the Mainland translator is copying the Taiwanese version because a proper transliteration according to Mainland standards would reflect the final 't' sound, e.g. 诺伯特 Nuòbótè. In effect, the Mainland translator has partially corrected the pronunciation but completely lost the humour.
The Japanese Noruwei doragon no Nōbāto is a similar construction to the familiar 熊のプーさん Kuma no Pū-san ('Pooh Bear').